Instead of sentencing clients to a life term of rowing machines and Lifecycles, fitness guru of gurus Radu (famously responsible for such iconic bods as Cindy Crawford's and Marla Maples's) has them sweat it off the old-fashioned way: in a high-school-style fitness center, complete with basketball court and monkey bars. "Run, Rollerblade, and kayak, and you'll never have to see a gym," Radu says. Prefer doing the job in your living room? Here's his skip-the-health-club toolbox.
Everlast Leather Skip Rope ($13 at Paragon): Jump for fifteen minutes to strengthen legs and shoulders. "Jumping makes you light-footed and fast. It prepares you for other activities . . . like tennis!" Radu enthuses. ("He's killing me," a client gasps, jumping on and off a bench.)
Vew-Do Balance Board (from $99 at Paragon): Like a skateboard with one roller instead of wheels. Learn to balance by holding onto a wall or counter, and seesaw to work thighs and butt. Standing is standard, but "if you sit on your tushie, you can kayak," says Radu, rocking wildly back and forth. "Hey!" he bellows. "Someone bring me a paddle!"
Bungee Cord (3/8-inch-diameter cord, 60 cents per foot at Tent & Trails): A twenty-foot length tied to a sturdy pipe, doorknob, or radiator is terrific for the upper body. To "swim," face the knot and, holding both handles, move as in freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly (start with fifteen reps, then time it by the minute). Tennis strokes and bicep curls work, too. Turn your back and repeat.
Bollinger Neoprene-Covered Dumbbells (five pounds; $6.99 each at Sports Authority): For upper-body work. To learn how, rent a video ("Cindy Crawford's is good, but I can't say that 'cause I made it . . . ," says Radu in an unusually pensive moment). Or book an hour with a trainer: "Take notes, go home, and practice."
Frelonic Sport Roll Mat ($29.99 at Paragon): No, you can't get around push-ups and sit-ups. But you might as well spend on a mat and save on an orthopedist.
Paragon Sporting Goods, 867 Broadway, at 18th St. (255-8036); The Sports Authority, 845 Third Ave., at 51st St. (355-9725); Tent & Trails, 21 Park Place (227-1760).
Picks of the Week
Nan Swid Design's home and table accessories sell at Bergdorf's; her dinnerware sells under the Calvin Klein label. At the sale, many items are 50to 70 percent off: from $5 and up for dinnerware to $10 for silver-platedphoto frames to $60 for silver-plated teapots. 55 W. 13th St., second floor (633-6699); M.C., V.; Thurs.-Fri. 8-6; 4/8-4/9.
Courtney Vaughan outfits the (really) junior set in sweet pastel frocks for dance classes, garden parties, and other fancy occasions. Dresses are usually up to $295; at the spring sample-and-stock sale, they're $200, skirts are $85, and jackets are $225. Girls' sizes 6 to 12. Hotel Wales, 1295 Madison Ave., near 92nd St. (831-0268); checks accepted; Fri. 2-8, Sat. 10-8, Sun. 10-3; 4/9-4/11, or by appointment.
Maria Pinto's pricey, grown-up eveningwear sells at Barneys, Bergdorf's, and Takashimaya. At the company's sale, spring and fall stock is less than half price. Snap up feather-trimmed wraps ($150-$700), silk-jersey separates ($100 -- $300), taffeta jackets ($375), and evening gowns ($400-$1,000). Shoreham Hotel, 33 W. 55th St. (247-6700); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Fri.-Sun. 10-7; 4/9-4/11.
The New York Design Center's traditional and modern interior-design showrooms include Grange, Ligne Roset, and Baker Knapp & Tubbs. This weekend, seventeen dealers are selling floor samples (lighting, rugs, furniture, etc.) to the public for at least half off retail: from $100 for a simple lamp to $10,000 for a hand-carved Italian dining table. 200 Lexington Ave., at 32nd St. (679-9500); checks accepted; Fri. 9-6, Sat. 10-5; 4/9-4/10.
ALWAYS A DEAL
If your toning-and-trimming spring-fitness regimen is creating a big pain in your neck, head for treatment at Madison Avenue Spine and Sports Medicine. The center, with its lablike atmosphere, is known for its invigorating and effective 45-minute medical massage. A treatment is usually $90, but for mass first-timers, it's a mere $25. The catch? You just might get addicted. 275 Madison Ave., at 40th St., Suite 1611 (986-3888).